Subaqueous Ambition…………#112 (the 60’s)

 

Lockheed Electra

Lockheed Electra

   Braniff Airlines commissioned eleven,  providing an opportunity to soar among the condensing vapors,  to experience a boundless vault poised above the earthen firmament.  Presenting their relevance for disposition,  a synoptic extension of advancing ambition enabling transposition.   The adroitly accommodations providing complacency of presence,  ensuring all an accomplished terminus.   The Lockheed Electra 188 Turbo Prop,  one of the eleven,  awaiting Gary and Kaye at the Oklahoma City International Airport.
   A delivery by the contemplative communion, Gary’s mother-in-law Helen Street and Kaye’s grandmother Sarah  would be the guardian of the couple’s 7 month old son Scott while they venture on a belated vacationing journey.   The couple  arriving at the air marshaling Portland Ave entrance to board the Lockheed Electra,  embarking on a well deserved excursion  to New Orleans.   The late February winter dampness embracing the two on the tarmac before  mounting the steps of entry of the Braniff flight to Dallas Love Field.   Once aloft in the turboprop transient of the sky it seemed like it wasn’t long before the first officer announced an early arrival in Dallas.   The early advent of arrival finding an unexpected flight of an Eastern Airlines, 727 Whisper Jet about to depart for New Orleans.  A hurried rush to the departure gate,  the couple able to  preclude a scheduled layover,  the travelers once again air-borne.

Eastern Airlines Whisper Jet

Eastern Airlines Whisper Jet

   The No Smoking and Fasten Seat Belt insignia was illuminated,  the aircraft buffeting,  followed by the captain’s announcement,  “the weather conditions are for scattered thunderclouds with minor turbulence on our approach to New Orleans and for all passengers to remain seated with their seatbelts fasten.”   The buffeting continued,  the silhouetted darken clouds convening an invitation,  the streaking lightning lashing downward like an illuminated spear,  the craft seeming to shudder with the looming sound of thunder.   Gary senses heightened,  breathing the ferment of the consequence that were,  immanent among the vociferous aura of the heavens,  knowing that this flight an experience to be remembered.    The arcadia darken zenith miraculously parted,  bestowing a sun adorned tinsel blue sky,  the Whisper Jet descending on its terrestrial approach across the brackish water of Lake Pontchartrain.   The airborne craft achieving New Orleans International Airport,  the couple disembarking,  discovering their French Quarter Hotel a distant ten miles from the airport and a shuttle service non-existent.   The cab excursion was more heroine that the buffeting aircraft,  the extreme narrow passages supplanting as streets, the cab darting in and out, their host being  very vocal with the horn,  the couple finding the driver  to be native of New York City,  giving credence to the experience.

The Monteleon Hotel

The Monteleone Hotel

   The couples lodging destination finally attained,  Gary discovering the Monteleone  a very capacious hotel with many luxurious rooms and suites,  but with the couples limited budget their reservations only provided for a diminutive quarters in the stately Hotel.   The Monteleone known for its exclusive roof top dining area, accompanied with a separate aquatic natatorium,  a swimming area high above the French Quarter.  The downstairs cocktail lounge with its highly ornament bar and decor premiered  illustrious past.  Gary soon finding that the novelty of the lounge was not only its decorative past, but incorporating some very modern attachments.   Upon waiting for his wife he seated Seating himself at the bar to observe  the highly anticipated televised fight between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston.   His ascertainment for viewing  was short-lived,  turning from his view to order a beverage and resuming,  finding  the television had altered  positions,  only then,  he recognized the area the television  occupied hadn’t changed,  it was the bar that had moved,  realizing he was seated at a carousel bar.

Preservation Hall Jazz

Preservation Hall Jazz

    The nocturnal hours  finding the  Willson’s  on a discovery venture of the French Quarter, dining at the   Vieux Carre’ on St. Charles St. in the French Quarter.   The inaugural of a linen draped arm of a maitre’ attentive for service during the repast and when questioned suggesting an impressionable cuisine and a introduction to a new frontier in white wine,  the respected German Liebfraumilch,  labeled Blue Nun,  the dining regalment was complete.   The later hours finding the couple  continuing their exploration,  a musical haven , the dixieland and jazz interpretations featuring the trumpet of Al Hirt famed by the hit  song Java, the Clarinet of  Pierre Dewey LaFontaine Jr.,  better known as Pete Fountain, both having secured their own night clubs.  A visit to Preservation Hall,  the home of the Old Preservation Dixieland Band,  Gary surprised that structure looked to be in a state of disrepair,  the musician somewhat resembling the building, but their music proving otherwise,  discovering it was all part of retaining the anastomotic appearance.

The Natchez on the Mississippi

The Natchez on the Mississippi

   The following morning found the Mississippi calling the inquisitive to bestow her portion of ambiguity and to demonstrate her warranted endowment.  The couple boarding the Natchez,  witnessing the churning of the steam-powered paddlewheel,  the reflection of a past era crested with the ambiance of the river breeze.   The overwhelming nostalgic presence  interrupted by the motorized sound of the modern water craft passing  by,  their trailing wakes cascading shoreward.    An inspection tour of the riverboat’s dance hall,  the decorative pavilion parading the revelations of an accomplished generation,  nostalgia represented by the fruits of their labor and the simplicity of life found in a bygone era of the paddlewheel riverboat.  The Mississippi,  the longest navigational  waterway in North America was contagious,  pocessing a beckoning aura,  its wandering way and  display never-ceasing and on occasion unveiling a hidden  aspect, the bayou’s.  The Delta humidity was first welcomed,  a contrast from the cold  February weather of Oklahoma,  but soon compounded its fame of notoriety as the couple embarked aboard another  vessel.   Gary  was taken back with the bayou cruise craft,  expecting an open air pontoon boat for the two-hour tour,  but discovering a vessel equipped with an air-conditioned cabin.  The tour craft exiting the river, entering what seemed to be the uncharted passages that make up the bayou, the tour guide reiterating that strangers to the waterway have been known to never find their way out, all said with a folklore hint.   The visitor finding the  denseness of the foliage,  the non flowing water with its green look of  heaviness adding to a cloaked  landscape presenting a life forbidding picture,  except for the sounds of the wilderness habitat,  yet as they continued deeper coming into view  a ramshackle  building,  a residence for those accepting these cloaked  surrounding as home,  a bayou dweller.

Bayou Country

Bayou Country

    This renown New Orleans restaurant displayed a commanding cuisine  with a pristine reputation,  finding habitué ‘ journeying  from around the globe to savor the applauded ambrosial subsistence.  The baroque atmosphere, the attired attendants,  the baronial wine list,  all gave presence to its celebrated name.  The Oklahoma City couple seated in this historic room once enhanced with the carriage of the prominent,  an expectation of grandeur waiting to be served  but soon discovering a discord of sound,  the bustle of commercialism, the waiters scurrying in this hurried realm to render a menued selection,  because their table was situated near the kitchen entrance,  the world-famous acclaimed and highly promoted Antoine’s was a disappointment.

Grayline tours New Orleans

Grayline tours New Orleans

   The Grayline tour stops among others provided for the investigation of  the above ground tombs of the departed,  the burial aspects holding little interest to group.  The tour continuing to the non-affiliated  residence outside of the French Quarter and an exploratory example of antebellum citadels,  the Grayline group assembling to absorb the essence of the historic marvels, the ascending pillars echoing the aristocratic chateaus of the expired south.   A departure from Grayline, the two visitors from Oklahoma in a self-administered tour of  Jackson Square,  entering  the famous St Louis Cathedral,  the inlaid  sculptor and paintings,  although under going several renovations throughout the past two centuries,  remains an icon in  New Orleans history.   The evening hour, the two strolling through the French Quarter , a  dining opportunity at The Court of Two Sisters,  a gated period decorated establishment with an impeccable reputation.  The evening about to culminate, a last accommodation,  a beverage  from Pat O’Brien’s,  Gary acknowledging,   a visit to  the French Quarter wouldn’t be  complete without an O’Brien’s famous Hurricane cocktail.   The Hurricane,  a rum and fruit juice mixture served by the green and white attired waiters in a hurricane lamp shaped souvenir glass, endowed with a logo and the Pat O’Brien name.

St Louis Basilica Cathedral

St Louis Basilica Cathedral

    The morning before leaving New Orleans Gary having to quell this beckeoning to visit the riverfront and judge if the atmosphere he read about or witnessed on the big screen as a young boy was true.  Asking his wife even though he knew she would decline,  if she would care to join him in experiencing the real life on the riverfront.   Gary walking the four blocks to Front Street then north along the river acknowledging the sound of the Mississippi lapping against the demonstrative ocean-going vessels,  moored and awaiting their significance,  the longshoremen allotting its station.   These massive commodity transports displaying the flags of innumerable nations finding  relief on this delta waterway,  their labor emissaries,  the vessel crew member and longshoremen commissioning  the local beverage establishments on the dock,  as customers  to partake of the available alcohol nectar.    Gary without hesitation entered the rustic riverside beverage oasis’, noting the  long counter with placement stools,  the tap handles protruding above the bar,  their decorative emblem  proclaiming an identity of what beer was on tap,  the rise of smoke from a workers leveraged cigarette and a gruff looking personality,  a fixture behind the bar.   The patrons,  longshoremen,  seaman,  the accents,  brogue,  broken english and foreign tongues,  all partakers of  beverages to quench a workingman’s’  thirst.   Behind the bar rested the  gallon containers of condiments,  pickles,  hard-boiled eggs,  pigs feet,  assorted dried editable assemblages and stacked on a bed of ice,  the premium delicacy, oysters on the half shell.  Gary’s entrance to the waterfront bar was purposeful,   a brief interlude to experience the surroundings of the seafaring workers,  the  smoked ambiance permeated with the odor of the river,  the sweat of the occupants,  the atmosphere issuing a scene from a long forgotten seafaring movie.   The Oklahoma visitor  seated himself at the bar,  ordering a mug of dark German beer,  savoring the event,  proceeding to order and  slurp-down a half-dozen raw oysters from their placement on the shell,  savoring this moment in time,  thus fulfilling a once in a lifetime experience,  a subaqueous ambition to close his New Orleans experience.

Oysters on the half shell

Oysters on the half shell

 

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